GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Eight protestors were arrested after a Justice for George Floyd demonstration in downtown Grand Rapids Monday evening.
The charges are all misdemeanors, ranging from obstructing traffic to creating a public disturbance to refusing command of an officer, according to a spokesperson for Grand Rapids Police Department.
“The police are fully supportive of everyone’s right to peacefully assemble, to express their opinion, and we understand these are unprecedented times in these efforts, and again, we’re willing to work with any group, any organizer, to have their event be successful and particularly be safe," said Sgt. Dan Adams at a media briefing following the protest.
The protest started around 6 p.m. at Rosa Parks Circle, with dozens gathered to support Floyd as one of the four officers charged in his death heads to trial. Earlier Monday, jury selection for the trial of Minnesota vs Derek Chauvin, who was being charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter for the death of George Floyd, was delayed.
“It should’ve never happened,” said Michael Booker, who lives in Grand Rapids. “To me, it’s personal, because I’m a Black man living in the times that we are now. So we seek justice, and we want to see it happen.”
“I think it’s important to be aware of what’s going on in the community and not to just advocate for my own community but to advocate for all communities,” said Rae-Ann Booker, a Grand Rapids resident.
Protestors believe a conviction is how justice for Floyd will be served. Without it, some worry for the future.
“Acknowledgement and accountability and transparency can really impact how people feel and how they’re being policed,” said Danny Santiago with Justice for Black Lives, the group who organized Monday’s protest. “When that isn’t addressed, it makes people feel uneasy … It makes you feel in a way that you’re not being protected.”
Around 6:30 p.m., the group started to march westbound on Monroe Center to northbound on Monroe Avenue, blocking two lanes of northbound traffic.
Police gave warnings over a loudspeaker, but protestors claimed GRPD began making arrests too quickly after issuing those warnings.
All arrested are currently lodged in the Kent County Jail and will likely be released in a few hours, per GRPD.
More details regarding the arrests will be made available Tuesday.